First aid flights leave for Tonga after big volcano eruption

  • In this photo provided by the New Zealand Defence Force, a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules is loaded before it leaves an airbase in Auckland, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, flying to Tonga with aid. The first flight carrying fresh water and other aid to Tonga was finally able to leave Thursday after the Pacific nation's main airport runway was cleared of ash left by a huge volcanic eruption. (CPL Dillon Anderson/New Zealand Defence Force via AP)

  • This photo provided by Broadcom Broadcasting shows a damaged area in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, Thursday, following Saturday’s volcanic eruption near the Pacific archipelago. The first flight carrying fresh water and other aid to Tonga was finally able to leave Thursday after the Pacific nation’s main airport runway was cleared of ash left by the eruption. (Marian Kupu/Broadcom Broadcasting via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The first flights carrying fresh water and other aid to Tonga were finally able to leave Thursday after the Pacific nation’s main airport runway was cleared of ash left by a huge volcanic eruption.